Back in the 90’s Manoj Comics came up with a series which transcended the barriers of traditional comic stories and were way ahead of their time. The series was call Dark Tales and you couldn’t have gotten a darker, grittier and awesome comic book than this one in those times!
As the name suggests, Dark Tales was a monthly comic book by Manoj Comics, which used to be just what the name promised. The stories had a weird mysticism around them, along with dark and complex scenarios which reminded me of the awesome sci-fi and horror comic books churned out in the early 50’s by the American publisher, EC Comics.
Every Dark Tales comic book used to have around 3 stories. The USP of the stories was the “Twist Ending”, a concept which hadn’t been explored much in the Indian comic industry by that point of time. Raj Comics’s Thrill Horror Suspense Series had done this in some capacity, but DT helped this concept reach an altogether different level. The endings of these comics used to shatter your thought process and throw away all the ideas you had about what you though would be the climax of the comic you were reading.
For instance, there was this story where a scientist invents a time machine, goes into the future to kill his arch nemesis, tries to come back and stumbles upon a newspaper stating that he has been killed in an accident in his lab. He panics and tries to go back to the past and as he is about to reach his lab in the past, the machine malfunctions, leading to a short circuit which destroys the machine in an explosion, engulfing the scientist in flames.
My favorite story is the one where 2 astronauts are sent in deep space, without them knowing that they have been sent to space for 100 years, to sleep in suspended animation. The moment when they realize that they won’t be able to see their family ever again, is enough to give you goose bumps and give you chills for days to come. And what happens in the climax will just blow your mind!
There are many more stories which are simply brilliant. Sadly, Manoj Comics is defunct now. But I urge every true comic book fan to go ahead and download the Dark Tales series from the web to better appreciate the awesomeness of this once in a lifetime series.